The Ministry of Industry and Informatization of the PRC ordered technology companies, including Alibaba and Tencent, to stop blocking links to each other’s services from their platforms.
The department held a meeting, which was attended by representatives of Alibaba, Tencent, ByteDance (owns TikTok), Baidu, Huawei and Xiaomi. During the meeting, the department proposed new standards for managing instant messaging services to companies – according to the new standards, all platforms must be unlocked by a certain time. A ministry spokesman also clarified that if companies refuse to obey, then it may be necessary to take other measures of state influence. This step is so far the latest government initiative to affect the Chinese high-tech industry.
The Chinese segment of the Internet is dominated by a number of tech giants that have historically blocked links to competing services on their platforms. The result is a closed ecosystem that analysts sometimes call a “walled garden”. In recent months, Chinese regulators have been actively transforming the tech landscape, accusing big players of creating monopolies and limiting consumer choice.
In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that, under pressure from the Chinese authorities, Alibaba and Tencent have decided to gradually open their services to each other. In particular, Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall marketplaces should support Tencent’s WeChat Pay.